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CHAPTER IX
LIENS

A LIEN is the right to hold property against the satisfaction
of a claim.

Liens may be divided for the purpose of this chapter into
two classes, the common law or possessory lien and the
maritime lien.

A common law lien is enforceable under common law.
By virtue of it a holder of goods may retain them until such
a time as his charges are settled. He has no right to sell the
goods, and except where the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894
(Sects. 492-501) allows them to be landed without loss, a
shipowner has no right of lien once he has permitted the
goods to be taken from the ship. Possession, actual or
constructive, is essential to a common law lien.

The common law right to retain goods may be extended
by statute or agreement.

A maritime lien is a daim on ship's tackle, ship, or cargo,
also for settlement of charges incurred. It is not based on
possession.

Speaking generally, liens are only enforceable on the
actual subject which has caused the debt, and are not
transferable. This, however, is overcome in relation to
freight liens by the carrier including in his bill of lading a
clause which gives him the right to spread his lien, and
make it what may be termed a "general" lien, whereby he
may exercise his lien on goods other than those which
incurred the debt or charges.

Liens are enforceable on cargo for freight, but it must be
remembered that this does not include advance freight,
dead freight, or freight payable after delivery.

Where a lien is exercised for freight, the shipowner may
hold the cargo until the freight and charges are paid, and, as
mentioned earlier, it is quite usual to find a clause in the bill
of lading or charter-party expressing that such a lien be

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